Two Million Dollars a Day to Protect Trump and his Family, But It's About to Get a Lot More Expensive...
Protecting the President of the United States and his family is a costly undertaking. Toss in Donald Trump's New York City penthouse and Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and protecting this president and his family is going to be very costly.
Add reports that Melania and 10-year-old son Barron will continue living at Trump Tower through the end of Barron's school year in June, and the cost goes even higher.
Sources told The New York Post the Secret Service is negotiating with the Trump Organization to take over two floors of Trump Tower, and will run a 24/7 command post with the New York Police Department — 40 floors below Trump’s $90 million penthouse.
Trump's situation is unique in that taxpayers will be paying Trump's own corporation for the cost of the two floors and related infrastructure — aside from the normal costs of Secret Service agents, staff, and equipment and barriers.
As president, Trump and his family will be protected by more than 920 Secret Service agents and support personnel in both Washington D.C. and New York City, as reported by NBC News.
Right now, the cost to taxpayers is more than $2 million a day, the documents show, a number that is sure to increase whenever the president or the first lady travels — or when the threat level rises.
Meanwhile, the New York Police Department is already handling external security at Trump Tower, the president-elect's Manhattan home base, at an estimated cost of $1 million per day.
Terry Sullivan of the White House Transition Project explained the complexity to NBC's Brian Williams:
"You have to be able to conduct a global war from the front porch — that is just the reality of the situation.
They would need at least a whole floor, and every apartment on that floor would need to be turned into an office."
Complicating matters further — and driving up costs even more — is Trump's plan to return to New York on weekends to spend time with Melania and Barron.
While some hope Trump will change his mind, having the government as a major tenant would be a boon for Trump Tower, which has seen sales and rentals drop by nearly 40 percent in the past year — due in large part to stepped-up security and protests.
A top New York real estate broker told The Post that wealthy tenants aren't happy:
“They can’t get into their own homes without being stopped and frisked and having to show ID. These are wealthy people. They don’t need this, and they can’t take it any longer.
They no longer want to stay there. Some of them are already planning on moving out, and they’ll decide later whether or not they want to sell."
Hey, who wouldn't want to see the “Naked Cowboy,” as he's known, perform in the lobby after coming home from a long, hard day at work?
Then there's Mar-a-Lago
Trump's 126-room, 110,000-square-foot mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, will also get a makeover by the Secret Service, as Sullivan explained.
“The Secret Service regularly upgrades a president's off-campus residence. Typically, it includes security apparatus and global communications.”
Finally, the Trumps will have some adjusting to do, regardless of where they might be at any given time, as former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow told NBC.
"Secret Service protection is the most intrusive thing that anyone could ever experience. We experience parts of your life, but we're also there in those private times when things aren't good — family arguments, family loss.
We're there when staff goes away and the military goes away. The only ones left are the Secret Service agents. We're there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
Two questions remain: how will the maverick that is Donald Trump react to the intrusion and how will taxpayers react to the cost?
Editor's note: This article was updated to remove an inaccurately characterized source.